Synopses & Reviews
In this "deeply personal and lyrical book" (Publishers Weekly) from the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse, Wendy Williams explores the lives of one of the world's most resilient creatures — the butterfly — shedding light on the role that they play in our ecosystem and in our human lives.
"[A] glorious and exuberant celebration of these biological flying machines...Williams takes us on a humorous and beautifully crafted journey" (The Washington Post). From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibits, these "flying flowers" are one of the few insects we've encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives really like? In this "entertaining look at 'the world's favorite insect'" (Booklist, starred review), New York Times bestselling author and science journalist Wendy Williams reveals the inner lives of these delicate creatures, who are far more intelligent and tougher than we give them credit for.
Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies' scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but "digs deeply into the lives of both butterflies and [the] scientists" (Science magazine) who have spent decades studying them.
Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible "butterfly biography" explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today. "Informative, thought-provoking," (BookPage, starred review) and extremely profound, The Language of Butterflies is a "fascinating book [that] will be of interest to anyone who has ever admired a butterfly, and anyone who cares about preserving these stunning creatures" (Library Journal).
"Butterflies are even more fascinating than they are beautiful. Wendy Williams' reporting on these otherworldly insects stuns on every page. Read this book and you'll metamorphose into an even greater fan of these amazing animals. I loved this book!" Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus
"The butterfly's life cycle has always symbolized transformation. In this awe-inspiring book, Williams shows us how these animals can also transform whole ecosystems, scientific disciplines and human hearts." Abigail Tucker, New York Times bestselling author of The Lion in the Living Room
"William's tale skips and hovers as lightly as the insects that fascinate her, revealing how very little we knew about them until a young German woman in the 17th century did what no one else had done — watch them. It's what we all should learn to do, if we are to save and protect these fragile beings who as pollinators help feed us and who give us the simple joy of delight as they flutter by like colored petals on a breeze. A must read for all." Virginia Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Animal Wise
"Look closely at a butterfly wing and the colors glow with tiny, luminous scales. Wendy Williams' book is the same - a focused examination filled with unexpected marvels. Written with wit and wonder, The Language of Butterflies is a worthy celebration of one of nature's most dazzling subjects." Dr. Thor Hanson, author of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees
"The Language of Butterflies enchanted me from the from the very first page. Woven through with curious wonderings about butterflies and Williams' journey of understanding, this is the best book on natural history I have read in years." Pat Shipman, author of The Invaders
"The Language of Butterflies introduces us to an array of fascinating people who help tease out delightful insights into lepidopteran biology and evolution. This is a wonderful read." Dr. David Suzuki, author of The Sacred Balance and founder of the David Suzuki Foundation
"Nobody hates butterflies. They bring pleasure and fascination to everyone. Yet we know enormously little about them, even today. What we do know has been assembled by Wendy Williams in The Language of Butterflies; an unabashed fan, talking to unabashed fanatics with credentials....[Williams] is a storyteller...The Language of Butterflies is a pleasure to read." San Francisco Review of Books
About the Author
Science journalist Wendy Williams has spent her life outdoors, either on the back of a horse, on skis, or on her own two feet. She has spent a great deal of time in a variety of countries in Africa, walking in the fields and forests of Europe, and exploring North American mountain chains and prairies. She lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with her husband and her Border Collie Taff. She is the author of The Horse and The Language of Butterflies.